We have been spending a great deal of time in Dundas lately. With it's small town charm Dundas is the perfect escape for many professionals who don't want to live in Toronto but appreciate the close highway access. We had been walking past this gorgeous storefront all summer with huge windows that were papered up, wondering what was going to open up in the space. A few weeks ago while we were dining at Bread Bar, we met Kaelin and Crystal of Detour Coffee. They told us of their new venture and invited us to drop by their opening. Surprise! It was in the building we had been day dreaming about. There is a feeling you get at Detour that you won't find anywhere else. It's a big city indie coffee shop in the heart of a small town. Kaelin and Crystal have great taste -- the custom upholstered benches, heavy wood tables and copper punched chairs really set the atmosphere in the space.
Kaelin, who had worked in film for many years began thinking about coffee about five years ago. As a photography lover, he finds a direct connection between film and coffee. "Both involve numerous variables in order to create balance," enthused Kaelin, "With coffee, temperature, grind size, extraction time and the exact amount of coffee used interplay to create a balanced cup." Before they moved to Dundas Kaelin was thinking about opening up an independent espresso bar in Toronto. "When I moved here I wasn’t sure that an espresso bar only concept would work," said Kaelin, "However I thought perhaps a roastery to serve the growing independent coffee scene in Toronto would." So he bought a roaster on eBay from Seattle, jumped on a plane and drove it here in the back of a rental truck. As such, Detour started out as a roastery in the back of the building. They continue provide their coffee to a number of independent cafes including Dark Horse Espresso Bar in Toronto. As for the space in the back, they plan to use it as a bean outlet on Saturdays and launch in house produced ice cream from it by the summer. We'll be first in line!
The basic food philosophy at Detour is to make everything from scratch using as much local, naturally raised, quality ingredients as possible. Crystal grew up in New Zealand, which has an amazing cafe scene and she is definitely bringing a bit of that to Detour with the food. They work with De La Terre for our bread, and Fenwood Farms for chicken. "We will likely change the menu up seasonally," explained Kaelin. Right now they offer two soups: beef barley, and smoked tomato and red pepper. Chef Tim Besserer and Crystal are both graduates of the Stratford Chef School. Do you remember the show Chef School? That was Crystal's idea and she worked on it as an associate producer. Tim was one of the students! We're so obsessed with Tim's grilled cheese that we order it for breakfast. It has two kinds of cheese baluchon, a raw, organic, washed-rind cheese from Quebec, and brie. Plus its served with homemade tomato chilli jam. Yum! And we recommend you try the house smoked meat sandwich. Tim smokes his own meat, bacon, and even the tomatoes that go into the soup.
We love the aesthetic of the space and appreciate Kaelin and Crystal's creativity in sourcing some of the pieces. The large table in the back corner is their dining room table. The counter was sourced from an antique dealer in Brooklyn (Ontario) and came from a Mennonite general store in Guelph. We especially adore the old fashioned street lights that they found at the Christie antique market. Kaelin's favourite piece is the curved fronted antique pastry display he was thrilled to find after months of searching. "We wanted to create a warm space that could pay homage to the history of the building and of Dundas," said Kaelin, "And have a timeless quality about it as if it was always there, while also introducing some interesting elements like the art that currently hangs on the walls."
Above, homemade cherry soda with cherry juice from Cherry Lane
Above, Detour 2 cheese grilled cheese
On the right, the new packaging prototype
The coffee at Detour is roasted weekly at their roastery in Burlington. "We buy quality lots of coffee often from individual farms or small groups of farmers," said Kaelin, " For the most part we roast our coffees much lighter that other roasters. People are pleasantly surprised that they can often drink our coffees black and appreciate the subtleties of coffees from different places in the world."
These cups are used for what is called “pourover” or hand poured coffee. They preweigh portions of coffees and will brew a single cup fresh of any coffee for you on the spot.
41B King St. West
Dundas, ON L9H 1T5